Sensory Tub with Shredded Paper


I recently had a reader e-mail me with the question, “What exactly is a sensory tub?” I don’t have an actual definition but from my experience, a sensory tub is simply a tool for children to learn about the world around them using their sense of touch. It allows children to explore different textures. In my opinion, sensory tubs are developmentally appropriate for any child who is out of the oral fascination stage (ie-putting everything in the mouth). Babies as young as one year can have as much fun with a sensory tub as a 5-year old!

There is no wrong way to make a sensory tub. All you need is a tub and something to fill it with! I have seen sensory tubs filled with rice, beans, sand, shaving cream, coffee grounds, and even bird seed. We’ve had a bean tub for several months with foam numbers and measuring cups for dumping and filling. But now that Little Brother is mobile, I don’t feel comfortable having the bean tub out since there is a high probability that a bean will end up being missed during cleanup. Then it will inevitably wind up in Little Brother’s mouth–and that has disaster written all over it.

So, I decided to use something a little different today–shredded paper! We added our plastic dinosaurs and fossils then let Big Brother get to work “excavating” the dinosaurs and remains. And the great thing was that Little Brother could participate too!

If you don’t have a shredder at home, you might check with a local business to see if they could give you some of their already shredded paper. I’m sure they would be happy to oblige.

Looking for the dinosaurs…
It’s so fun to see the boys playing together!
Guess who loved this activity most of all??? Little Brother loved tossing the paper in the air!
Yes, this activity does make a mess…
But when everybody pitches in to help, it takes less than 5 minutes to clean up!


  1. What a great idea with the shredded paper. I had a sensory tub filled with dried beans, but when my little 2-year-old started experimenting with sticking things up her nose I had to put the tub away. I never thought of shredded paper, I'll get it back out again!

  2. That's an awesome idea. I'm not sure I'd get paper from a business though, as sometimes they put in thicker papers that can give a nasty papercut.
    I've been looking for ways to bring the kid's sandbox experiences inside as winter approaches and this looks way easier to clean (and cheaper) than using rice.
    Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Such a fun idea! It is messy, but it's messy when I empty the shredder anyway. =) We don't do enough with sensory tubs around here. Thanks for the great ideas!

  4. Thank you for joining us at Show & Tell on ABC & 123: A Learning Cooperative! I love the suggestion to use shredded paper! It's a nice medium to use because it could be used anytime of the year and we always have a semi full container in our house. Plus I bet the kids have a blast, it certainly looks like they did!

  5. I did this with my 2 and 4 yo yesterday and they had a BLAST! However I did it on carpet and it wasn't so easy to clean up. Next time we will do it on our wood floor. I was in a hurry and pretty much just looked at your pics in the post and missed the part about burying items. They threw caution to the wind, grabbed handfuls, threw it up in the air and kept yelling surprise! like it was confetti. They would clean it up into a pile and repeat.

  6. This is such a good idea. Now I just need to find some stuff to shred.

  7. How fun, I can't wait to try this…we have an in wall vacuum, I think I will set up right next to it, so all I have to do is sweep it in when we are done.

  8. According to my own investigation, billions of people all over the world get the loan from well known banks. Thence, there is great possibilities to get a car loan in every country.

  9. This is a very perfect usage for shredded paper strips! Sensory tubs are great learning tools for children. Using the shredded paper strips to make one is a very fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have been sharing it with friends every since. I can’t wait to try this one out in the next week with my 1-yr-old son. He loved the water sensory bucket!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *